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US-Australia Tensions Rise Over Net Filter

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the trouble-down-under dept.

Australia 169

daria42 writes "Tensions between the US Government and its counterpart in Australia appear to be rising over Australia's proposal to filter the internet for objectionable content. The US government has raised its concerns over what it sees as potential censorship directly with the Australian Government. However, last night, Australia's Communications Minister Stephen Conroy denied he had had any approach from US State Department officials."

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I come from the land down under (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31667738)

Where women don't shave and men chunder...

Re:I come from the land down under (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668126)

True, but our women can open beers using their belly buttons. Your move, America.

Re:I come from the land down under (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668422)

The Australian girls do pretty good. Among the best when it comes to drinking and dirty talking, but they have some learning to do when it comes to fighting for their rights.

Norwegian women is total pain in the .... for the Norwegian men! That is how we like them! :-)

US girls has been pushed down for a long time.

diode effect? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31667748)

"We can censor you but you can not censor us, we can hide info to you but you can not hide info to us." --United States of America

Re:diode effect? (3, Interesting)

FriendlyLurker (50431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31667904)

"We can censor you but you can not censor us, we can hide info to you but you can not hide info to us." --United States of America

Probably just another CIA "Red Cell" [telegraph.co.uk] style case of manipulating public opinion similar to this case [salon.com] . Only In this example its just basic old Reverse psychology [wikipedia.org] : Your citizens overwhelmingly do not want filters. If the US says don't do it, your citizens will rally against foreigners telling them what to do - and so be more open to implement filtering. Childish, but it probably works on some.

Re:diode effect? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668136)

It'd probably work better than their attempts to make and distribute porn films starring fake foreign leaders. In this case, it'd be a funny take on the filters, but I'm not sure I want to see Big Kev in action.

Re:diode effect? (2, Funny)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668292)

Possible title for the "adult movie":

The flood of the stud, Rudd, poking into the crud... thud thud thud.

Re:diode effect? (3, Interesting)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668138)

I've always operated under the belief that the US government uses the internet as a means (probably the most effective means since we rely so much less operatives then we have in the past) to disseminate their own "form" of democracy. The US has invested heavily in this outlet of propaganda (news, if you prefer to call it that).

Australia jeopardizes all of this by possibly starting a trend that spreads to other countries, in effect, legitimizing filtering.

I think someone in the US government finally realized that would be a HUGE step backwards in terms of what the US government wants.

To be honest, I find it highly amusing that all of this, the use of the net as a means of disseminating propaganda, might actually be the one thing that ensures net neutrality.

Re:diode effect? (4, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668414)

Australia jeopardizes all of this by possibly starting a trend that spreads to other countries, in effect, legitimizing filtering.

The problem is, EVERYONE keeps saying its impossible (which isn't a problem for those who don't want a filter).

First the ISPs joined the test-run specifically to prove the idea is infeasible.

Then Stephen Conroy kept pushing for it, so the company whose filters they were going to use stepped up and said "It won't work. Our filters are for small networks such as at a high-school. They won't work on a nation-wide scale."

A company, who the government wanted to throw money at, said "Don't give us money. We can't sell you this product because it won't do what you want it to do." They did this. PUBLICLY! That degree of honesty is just staggering and shocking. And if that company is sacrificing the chance to make so much money, the filter simply can't be done.

So no matter how much Stephen Conroy might want a filter, it won't happen unless he gets some technicians from China to help us out.

Re:diode effect? (4, Insightful)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669010)

What most people don't realise it the the great firewall of China does not work either ... it is only mostly effective because of the consequences of trying to get around it ...

If it was implemented anywhere in "the west" then most citizens would find ways around it, or bypass it completely ....

Re:diode effect? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670104)

I think you misunderstand the aim of the Chinese firewall. From what people I know in China have said, it's pretty easy to bypass and a lot of tech-savvy people do. The aim is subtler. It's closer to a party-sponsored news outlet like Fox News; it isn't to stop people finding things out, it's simply to make it easier to find party-approved information than anything else. It's not there to make it impossible to find information that the party doesn't want you to see - that's impossible - it's there to make it difficult to accidentally find such information.

Re:diode effect? (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670264)

The goal of most filters isn't to be completely impossible to bypass, it's to make it enough of a pain in the ass to bypass that only a tiny minority will do it.

Re:diode effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668834)

The majority of Aussies don't want the damn filter, and having the USA agree that it's stupid isn't going to change that. This isn't Asia, we don't subscribe to that 'saving face' bullshit

Re:diode effect? (1, Interesting)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668110)

"We can censor you but you can not censor us, we can hide info to you but you can not hide info to us." --United States of America

Exactly. We can block online Casinos [wikipedia.org] and anything elee we don't like, but how dare you block our porn sites.

Re:diode effect? (4, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669352)

Except the US doesn't block them, you can get to those gambling sites and play them just fine within the US. Of course you might be breaking the law and will probably have problems transferring money due to those laws but that has nothing to do with internet filtering.

Re:diode effect? (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668212)

I was thinking the message was more along the lines of:

"We hate censorship, and you should too. Ask me how."

Never mind hypocrisy, this is cultural imperialism.

Re:diode effect? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670310)

Hence the sarcastic argument earlier that the US was trying to reverse-psychology Australia into increased censorship by playing up the "The US can't tell us what to do! Censor us, our government!" card.

Re:diode effect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668384)

That's the US government for you. What did you expect?

It's the same with the EU and flight passenger information, banking data and laws and regulations that hamper immoral practices of US corporations. Orders go strictly one-way from the US to the EU and data only flows back one-way from the EU to the US.

Of course he denies it.......... (1)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31667750)

He's CENSORING the output of his speech! :p

Re:Of course he denies it.......... (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668140)

He's probably telling the truth. Why would the Americans deal with him? They're talking to the foreign minister/DFAT or the PM's office.

Re:Of course he denies it.......... (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668234)

Yeah, but one would assume that as the minister in charge of the area being discussed he would at the very least be notified as soon as practical.

That or he's a lying slimeball. I'm not sure which is easier to believe.

Filters... What About ACTA (5, Insightful)

Taliesan999 (305690) | more than 4 years ago | (#31667752)

One branch is expressing concerns about our lovely Internet filter while the other is trying to ram ACTA down our throats.

BOTH will have an effect on free speech... neither of them we want.

Re:Filters... What About ACTA (4, Informative)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668274)

ACTA isn't being rammed down our throats, since we're taking an active part in negotiating it. Far more nefarious was 5 years ago when through the AUSFTA [wikipedia.org] we had copyright extensions from 50 to 70 years, and the DMCA rammed into Australian law without any significant debate in the Australian parliament under the banner of the greater trade good.

Australia IS AUSTRALIA (not the U.S..) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668630)

"One branch is expressing concerns about our lovely Internet filter while the other is trying to ram ACTA down our throats. BOTH will have an effect on free speech... neither of them we want." - by Taliesan999 (305690) on Tuesday March 30, @04:38AM (#31667752)

Personally, I feel that our government should take care of ITS OWN (like spurring job creation as job #1 more than ANYTHING), rather than stick its nose into anyplace it has NO PLACE BEING!

Once more: Australia, IS AUSTRALIA (& not the United States of America) - Thus, the Australians are free to do AS THEY PLEASE, & not what WE tell them to do (who the hell does our gov't. think they are, especially in THIS CASE?).

I mean, lol - that'd be like me telling you guys, in your OWN HOMES, "what to do & how to live"... yea, right, that'd "go over like a lead balloon".

So, per my subject-line above? Agreed, 110%!

APK

P.S.=> Additionally, & ESPECIALLY - Above all else: If this filter of theirs cuts down on KNOWN BAD SITES &/or SERVERS (that serve up malware and other exploits of a system for illegal thievery & control, via for example, botnets)?? YEA, CUT IT OUT! Block lists??? They work!

E.G.-> I have been using custom HOSTS files for this, & for ages (since 1997), as well as giving the same HOSTS files to my family & friends - I've watched them go from (not in ALL cases, but many) 200++ malware infestations a MONTH, to 1 maybe every other month, tops (& they know where they got their infestations from, usage of javascript on untrusted websites or downloading .exe files from a site they do NOT know well either)...

Heh - 1 pal of mine, a P.I. no less, tested running Windows 2000 without:

----

1.) Service Packs or hotfix patches

2.) Antispyware

3.) Antivirus

4.) Firewall

----

He had stayed CLEAN too, for months, just by using my custom made HOSTS file!

HOWEVER - He has a "tendency" to use javascript on sites he has NO IDEA what they're truly about (& javascript IS what hits you this way, a good 99% of the time & websites like SECUNIA.COM &/or SECURITYFOCUS.COM can attest to this much by reading their content) - this is his downfall, he even admits it to me!

Thus... he FINALLY turned up a trojan (for the reasons noted above), for the first time in 4 months, yesterday... it was, of all things, a .reg file (not an executable) that was flagged by AVG as a bogus file (he never clicked on it or loaded it afaik, it was in his webbrowser cache for FireFox).

SO - Why'd he run "naked" like that list above?

Well - He actually wanted to see how WELL this HOSTS file of mine (811,000 entries currently) worked, & he found out it did, but his own unrestricted usage of javascript indiscriminately got him "hit"... because there really is NO WAY that I could cover every new bad server or site that pops up (because prior to his usage of my custom HOSTS file, he was the one turning up 200++ viruses a month too, by the by)...

Folks, and new BAD SITES &/or SERVERS? You may not believe this, but, they pop up, literally, around 100-500 a day!

(This is the trend I have been seeing since July 2008 in fact, yes, the new ones pop up, that fast... incredible, isn't it?).

Thank goodness I have RELIABLE & upkept sources vs. them that spot them for me & then I integrate them into my HOSTS file.

Thus, I rest my case that internet filtering, when done right & FOR THE RIGHT REASONS AGAINST WHAT OUGHT TO BE BLOCKED (malware laden sites for example)?

Works quite well!

Now, on the subject of "net filters" again, also - if the usage of such filtering cuts down on the pr0n content (& other lunacy in like kind) kids could get exposed to? Yea, then CUT IT OUT too!

(Because one way or another, they'll find out about that type of thing, soon enough, just as we all did @ some point.... but, there's no point in allowing it to occur through something as easily controlled as the internet really is in this capacity)... apk

Both of them are missing the point entirely (4, Insightful)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 4 years ago | (#31667770)

Successfully filtering the net is impossible - that's been proven time and time again. If either one of them realized this simple truth then they'd know that their statements are somewhat nonsensical.

Re:Both of them are missing the point entirely (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668058)

<Slaps forehead> Of course! We just have to make politicians live in the real world! I wonder why no one's thought of that before?

Re:Both of them are missing the point entirely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668192)

The irony is that Conroy insists that any blacklist must remain secret... on the basis that if it's released people will visit the sites contained therein. i.e. he *knows* that the filter won't work, and yet still insists on pushing for it!

Re:Both of them are missing the point entirely (1)

srjh (1316705) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668290)

I think it's extremely unlikely that Stephen Conroy isn't aware of this simple truth.

It's being pushed through for the same reason most policies are pushed through by governments -- because they think there is political capital to be gained in doing so. While I'm unsure whether their assumption is accurate, there is no way it would have come to this point without extensive focus group testing and behind-the-scenes calculations of exactly what they have to gain.

On the other hand, I'm struggling to see how it's a vote winner. It's not so much the level of support it has that counts, but how many votes are likely to be changed on this issue alone. Many of the strongest opponents of the filter are young, educated, tech-literate Labor voters and I have no doubt the policy is going to cost them dearly in that demographic. The strongest supporters of the filter are right-wing religious fundamentalists who are unlikely to vote Labor anyway, particularly with "Mad Monk" Abbott leading the Liberals (the Liberals are the conservative party for our foreign readers... go figure).

Which leaves lukewarm support amongst parents and others who aren't strongly involved, but two minutes conversing with them makes it clear that the policy they support isn't the one the government is proposing. Every time this comes up for discussion on talkback radio, blogs, letters to the editor and other forms of public commentary, it's the same arguments over and over. "I want the internet to be safe for my ten-year-old when I'm not around", "the government needs to do something about all this porn on YouTube", "I caught my son looking at hard core pornography", "there's too much porn on the internet". These people are going to be extremely disappointed when they realise that R-rated and X-rated material (i.e. up to and including hard core pornography) falls outside the scope of the filter, and that out of the trillion or so urls on the intertubes, only about a thousand will be blocked (i.e. about 0.0000001 % of the internet, and as most are probably aware, slightly more than that figure is currently porn). It doesn't even attempt to remove porn from the internet, let alone entertain the delusion that it is even remotely possible.

To those people, I keep saying it's like mandating the hiring of a babysitter who lets the kids drink, smoke, play with knives and have sex, but who is required to hang around and baby-sit Mum and Dad in their bedroom when the kids are asleep. Thankfully this is finally starting to gain some attention, and those pushing for the porn filter will realise this is nothing of the sort. Whether the U.S. Government's involvement in that helps or hinders our cause, I'm not too sure, but if it was important enough to the U.S., I'm sure a behind-the-scenes phone call or two would have it dropped in no time.

I really hope the minor parties (e.g. Pirate Party, Democrats, Greens and the Sex Party) clean up next election over this.

Doesn't make sense (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31667772)

Both governments and many others would love to filter the net. Now, Google and Yahoo might not be so interested. It could cut into ad revenues.

Thank You USA (3, Informative)

domukun367 (681095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31667774)

Normally I disagree with USA foreign policy, but in this case I welcome US government sticking its nose in where it's not welcome. On behalf of all (thinking) Australians, thank you USA for standing up to our government and this facist policy. http://stephenconroy.com.au/ [stephenconroy.com.au]

Re:Thank You USA (4, Insightful)

LuNa7ic (991615) | more than 4 years ago | (#31667808)

...except that they haven't done anything at all. There are just a few mumbles of 'concern' over something their voter-base is likely to disapprove of. I don't see that making a difference any-time soon.

Re:Thank You USA (1)

Boltronics (180064) | more than 4 years ago | (#31667832)

Agreed. The USA needs to be more direct, as clearly their current approach isn't working if Stephen wasn't even aware until he read it in the paper.

I would love for the USA to make as big a deal out of this as possible.

Invasion needed. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31667920)

Agreed. The USA needs to be more direct, as clearly their current approach isn't working if Stephen wasn't even aware until he read it in the paper.

I would love for the USA to make as big a deal out of this as possible.

Invasion. p/.It's obvious hat Australia is controlled by a repressive regime and we have no choice but to invade and install a Democracy!

Re:Invasion needed. (3, Funny)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668150)

More importantly, we have oil.

Re:Invasion needed. (3, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668314)

Also noteworthy: We have the worlds largest reserves of Uranium [cameco.com] and we know how much the superpowers love that shit...

Re:Invasion needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668318)

I, for one, welcome our American overlords!

Re:Invasion needed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668362)

You're a little late, don't ya think?

Re:Invasion needed. (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669062)

Invasion. p/.It's obvious hat Australia is controlled by a repressive regime and we have no choice but to invade and install a Democracy!

Don't tell them we have a lot of LPG (natural gas).

/audience blinks

It's the next best thing to oil.

Re:Invasion needed. (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670004)

LPG isn't natural gas. That's why we flog LNG to other countries.

Re:Thank You USA (2, Insightful)

domukun367 (681095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31667854)

...except that they haven't done anything at all. There are just a few mumbles of 'concern' over something their voter-base is likely to disapprove of. I don't see that making a difference any-time soon.

True... we need a larger, more official push. If we get that, then the Australian government will cave as it always does e.g. FTA (Free Trade Agreement) between the USA and Australia.

Re:Thank You USA (1)

jellyfrog (1645619) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668390)

It's actually rather sad that the government is more likely to listen to a couple of officials in the USA than its own citizens on something like this. It's absurd that the US saying "don't do this" should be more compelling than 90% of voters saying the same thing.

Re:Thank You USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668000)

Phase 2 of the Australian Internet Filter is to intercept and substitute ads and suggested search links to favor domestic companies, or other countries Australia has signed a trade treaty with. Pharmaceutical advertising and online chemists are in their sights. If the blacklist is secret, the substitute and redirect list is even more so.

Bottom Line: US Businesses will miss out, its a sneaky underhanded way of getting around the Australian /USA free Trade agreement - now that Australia has found out it negotiated badly - negative 6 billion a year.

Some don't mind filtering - but to tamper with Google search engine and Google pushed ads is almost exactly what the Chinese are doing.

Hypocrisy without bounds.... (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668082)

Yeah, well, I wouldn't break out the bubbly just yet.

We [USA] are just waiting for the world to bend over, then we'll goatse you all with ACTA.

Nothing personal, as we USA citizens are getting gaped also.

Remarkable... (4, Insightful)

vikingpower (768921) | more than 4 years ago | (#31667910)

...how both so-called "free" countries will crack down upon China for filtering the internet on what they claim to be important free-speech-issues, but in the same time will not hesitate to implement rather identical measures at home.

Re:Remarkable... (4, Funny)

Spad (470073) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668154)

That's obviously because China is a repressive dictatorship, whereas the US and Australia simply want to protect their citizens from harmful material.

Re:Remarkable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668704)

Please tell me this is sarcasm?

Re:Remarkable... (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669044)

That's obviously because USA and Australia are repressive capitalists, whereas the China simply want to protect their citizens from harmful material.

That was the joke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31670056)

I am glad to see you got it...

oy!

Re:Remarkable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31669016)

I've read this before here... what filtering/censoring takes place in the USA? Obviously some people think that there is some sort of government filtering being done but I've never read a slashdot article about it... was it filtered?

Really hope they kick up as much fuss as China (4, Interesting)

rubenerd (998797) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668026)

This news isn't on the scale of Google redirecting mainland Chinese search results to Google.cn but has more in common than Senator Conroy here in Australia would like people to think. Wait, no, that isn't even right, he's openly compared [rubenerd.com] the proposed Great Firewall of Australia to the filters in China.

When Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Federal Labor won the last election and Barack Obama and the Democrats won the elections in the US, Australian newspapers reported their first meetings as being one with kindred spirits, in much of the same way as George Bush and John Howard. This filter is perhaps the first large(ish) crack in this relationship, and I'm really hoping the Americans kick up as much of a fuss about Australia's laws as China's if the filter in Australia goes through.

The problem for the voting public here is in our version of the two party system, the opposition are considered the more conservative party, and its new Christian far-right leader Tony Abbott has been fairly silent on the whole issue. One can imagine he supports it in spirit but doesn't want to seem as though he's agreeing with Labor. Either way, we're royally stuffed.

In the meantime if you're an Aussie, don't forget the Electronic Frontiers Australia is accepting donations [efa.org.au] for their Open Internet campaign.

Re:Really hope they kick up as much fuss as China (2, Informative)

domukun367 (681095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668066)

In the meantime if you're an Aussie, don't forget the Electronic Frontiers Australia is accepting donations [efa.org.au] for their Open Internet campaign.

Tax deductible!

The Cultural Exception: Preventing US Toxic Waste (4, Interesting)

hughbar (579555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668056)

Certain countries, including Australia support the Cultural Exception [google.co.uk]

I lived in France for 20 years, also a supporter of this, I wish we did in UK. In France, it meant that the continuous diet of brainless, braindead violent programmes and 'rich people behaving nauseously' (Beverly Hills xxxxxx) were present, but in limited quantity, There were and are a lot of local cops shows, Julie Lescaut, for example, more connected with the indigenous culture.

Finally, I have family in the West Indies and when the island switched from BBC to US channels (anecdotally, but many people said it) violence increased.

I know I'll get a lot of hate for posting this, but there is a category of cultural toxic waste and it does modify behaviour, however much we wish it didn't.

Re:The Cultural Exception: Preventing US Toxic Was (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668098)

I know I'll get a lot of hate for posting this, but there is a category of cultural toxic waste and it does modify behaviour, however much we wish it didn't.

So what do you propose doing about it?

Re:The Cultural Exception: Preventing US Toxic Was (1, Troll)

hughbar (579555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668164)

Against all my instincts, I find myself for the right of governments to filter, as long as they are 'legitimate' governments.

That is, the 'people' can hear the arguments and throw them out, if they don't want the filtering.

Optimally, the production models would change so that no-one produced trash and education levels so that no-one consumed it. I'm mainly talking about TV which is a push medium and which may be dying anyway.

I'm 60 this year and I have seen a step by step decline sold as 'freedom' and 'free trade', code words for 'we're making a lot of money with this' don't take away that 'right'.

But you're quite correct to criticise, I don't have anything like a complete answer and it pains me to end up on the 'wrong' side.

Re:The Cultural Exception: Preventing US Toxic Was (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668354)

I followed your homepage link and I thought there was a lot of interesting stuff there. Previous trials of filtering in Australia have resulted in totally innocuous pages being filtered. The reasons for this always come back to incompetence on the part of the people maintaining the filter.

The open ended filter my government proposes can never be guaranteed to filter only illegal content because there is no adequate peer review. When you propose a filtering system you should think how it could go wrong. Somebody in government could read "Alternative Currency Software" and decide that it is dangerous for people to read your site.

Re:The Cultural Exception: Preventing US Toxic Was (1)

hughbar (579555) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668924)

I agree, the actual proposal is ridiculous (although we run Dan's Guardian in a drop-in to protect kids using it, makes us hypocrites...) but I'm thinking about the philosophy behind it.

My ideal is that every citizen has a level of education and ethical-compass where they can do all this 'work' themselves. But, actually, I have seen standards going down in the UK, not old-person grumpiness, I really wish they hadn't.,,

As standards decline there's less protection at individual level against 'trash'.

Re:The Cultural Exception: Preventing US Toxic Was (3, Insightful)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668500)

Against all my instincts, I find myself for the right of governments to filter, as long as they are 'legitimate' governments.

The issue is that while you might be quite happy for a legitimate government to filter, they can quickly become an illegitimate government, perhaps especially because they control the filters and will filter any evidence of their illegitimacy from the public at large.

The biggest issue governments have is that there's no heirarchy to the internet - they can't speak to the owner of the internet like they could with newspapers or TV networks or radio networks - and that lack of a single point, or even a limited set of points of control freaks most governments out. Spin is awful hard to get out there when you need to spin hundreds instead of a handful.

Re:The Cultural Exception: Preventing US Toxic Was (1)

Diagoras (859063) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669198)

If you believe in freedom of speech, you should oppose muzzling entertainment as much as muzzling political speech. If your political views are less convincing than mine, working on your policies is better than banning my speech. Likewise, if your country is unable to compete with the culture of the United States, perhaps understanding what makes American culture so powerful and pervasive and trying to emulate it is the better move rather than muzzling it because you're unable to compete.

These people... (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668070)

Today in The Age: Government goes to war with Google over net censorship [theage.com.au]

Senator Conroy has conceded that greater transparency is needed in terms of how content ends up on the blacklist, but last night he again refused to make the blacklist itself public, saying it would provide people instant access to the banned material.

Okay Stephen here is how it works: every time an Australian hits the black list they post the URL on a wiki somewhere so if anybody needs some porn or the libaral party website or whatever they just follow the link from there and access it through a russian VPN? Simple? Okay.

Re:These people... (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668162)

OK, you take care of that end. I'll build the submit-bot to flood ACMA with requests to add to the list.

Re:These people... (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668940)

Okay Stephen here is how it works: every time an Australian hits the black list they post the URL on a wiki somewhere so if anybody needs some porn or the libaral party website or whatever they just follow the link from there and access it through a russian VPN? Simple? Okay.

Won't work. ACMA can ban material which links to banned material. So the linker becomes banned, too.

When the filter trial list wiki-leaked, the wikileak page was banned; and when someone on a chat-site in Aus talked about it and included a link to wikileaks, that was deemed illegal and they got a take-down order. For posting a link to a page with links to pages, some of which had illegal material or links to it.

Your filter-wiki would just be banned for hosting illegal material. After which even a link to the wiki would get you banned if you're overseas, or taken down if you're local. They can recurse as far as you can. Plus one.

Re:These people... (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670070)

So you're saying I can start reporting search engines to ACMA. Nice, now we've just got to get Google to pull out and redirect everything to their New Zealand site and we're all set.

Australia needs your support on this (4, Insightful)

EoN604 (909459) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668114)

I really hope that the US put a lot of pressure on our Australian government to try and prevent this draconian Mandatory Internet Censorship. If it goes ahead in Australia, it will pave the way for many more developed Western countries. This is a serious attack on our freedom. There's not much left we can do at the moment - the internet community is kicking up a fuss, most polls & votes are >94% AGAINST the censorship, the US gov, google, local telcos, ISP's and all the technical experts are advising AGAINST it, but ignorant Senator Conroy and the government keep pushing ahead to censor the internet. If it goes ahead it will be bad news for everyone. The more people that support us on this VERY important issue, the better. Slashdot + its community probably have the potential to help make a difference. Please USA, and the entire international online community, show your support on this in any way you can!

Re:Australia needs your support on this (1)

techno_dan (591398) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669758)

Wait, are you not in a democratic country? do you not have elections? No democratic country should interfere with another. If you do not like what your government is doing, vote them out. The U.S. getting involved in Australia, just shows you that the U.S. wants to be a world dictator. They always say "Our Way is best". Why not let the voters in those countries decide for themselves? Maybe voters in the U.S. don't like to hear it, but most Americans vote for $$$, and that is why they fall for election innuendo. Get with the program, Big Business runs your government, and that is why they are upset with Australia. I am not saying we are any better. In Canada, we too are run by business. But I vote knowing this, and try to support a balance Government. This is why many Canadians love the current minority situation, since it prevents the ruling party from walking all over everything.

FYI almost NO ONE here wants this here (4, Informative)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668130)

The Sydney Morning Herald had an informal web poll today with 3 choices: In Favour of filtering, Against filtering, Indifferent. Last I looked at it 96% had voted against! That's overwhelming. You usually get lots of indifferent here. How this sad man Stephen Conroy can claim to be a representative of the people is beyond me. He is clearly acting against their interests and against their wishes. He's one of few politicians here that's gotten public death threats (not that I could ever condone something as stupid as a death threat). Since he would seek to push ahead despite this he should be sacked. I have no idea if there's a legal provision for it in the Australian constitution (and I doubt there is) but there ought to be.

Re:FYI almost NO ONE here wants this here (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668200)

Since he would seek to push ahead despite this he should be sacked. I have no idea if there's a legal provision for it in the Australian constitution (and I doubt there is) but there ought to be.

I don't know if you are an Aussie but it seems to me that the Government is being pushed in this direction by the owners of media companies. This could be because of thoughts like "the internet competes with TV so it should have the same ratings system" or "first we block child porn, then those torrents of Neighbours and Blue Heelers" or "more people would watch A Current Affair if they weren't browsing 4chan one handed".

In any event it is doomed to failure and I am reminded of a science museum years ago which set up a termian (VT220 or similar) for kids to play on. It accumulated a lot of rude words so somebody wrote a black list but there had to be a command to print the black list out and some young geek found the key combination...

Re:FYI almost NO ONE here wants this here (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668266)

How this sad man Stephen Conroy can claim to be a representative of the people is beyond me. He is clearly acting against their interests and against their wishes.

Here [abc.net.au] is a more in-depth survey telephone survey commissioned by the ABC [abc.net.au] . According to it, 92% are in favour of some form of ISP-based filtering, which lends at least some credence to Conroy's claim. But that's about where the consensus ends, 70% have concerns that the filter will be used to block free speech and 90% are against a secret blacklist.

Re:FYI almost NO ONE here wants this here (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668932)

I can just picture the questions now:

"Hi folks, here's the poll! If you are for the filtering of indecent images of children and violent sexual acts, dial this number! If you believe that everyone should have access to indecent images of children and violent sexual acts, dial the second number."

Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Filtering does not solve the problem of child abuse: It just takes it out of the public eye.

Fir57 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668188)

Out of businees charnel 4ouse. The

Since every other story is Australian... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668196)

...Maybe it's time to give the Aussies (including kdawson) what they want, which is a Slashdot of their very own. You know, Slashdot.org.au, or something.

But then I suppose Aussies would fear losing the American audience they crave so desperately.

It's like Slashdot editors think the world now consists of the USA, Australia, and some shadowy half-forgotten realm known as "Someplace Else".

Seriously, shove these Aussie stories up your ass. We're fucking sick of the sight of them. Go beg for attention elsewhere.

Re:Since every other story is Australian... (3, Insightful)

domukun367 (681095) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668238)

Seriously, shove these Aussie stories up your ass. We're fucking sick of the sight of them. Go beg for attention elsewhere.

This is slashdot.org, not slashdot.org.us

Re:Since every other story is Australian... (0, Troll)

ReneeJade (1649107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668460)

Seriously, pull your head out of your arse, mate. This is about a developed, democratic country trying to blind its people even more than it already does by pushing its conservative, Christian views on its secular population. And, as usual, damaging the lifestyle of the majority of its citizens because no one in power here can grow some balls and find a way to actually punish criminals instead of hiding them away in hotels (prisons) that cost tax payers countless dollars every year and achieve nothing. Now you might not care personally, but these are issues that are relevant all over the world - Australia is just unlucky enough to be the example. So you don't live here? I don't give a fuck where you live. Go read some other site if you don't like it. It's not your Slashdot. We are members of this community and WE care, as do many community members who have never been to Australia. It is our rights and our future on the line - not just a collection of news stories.

I would personally like to thanks the Slashdot editors for continuing to run these stories. I get quite a bit of my info on this topic from here and I live in Australia. I'm 20 years old and I have never set foot outside this country, but if this plan goes ahead I will seriously consider leaving for good. I do not want to leave my home. So thank you, Slashdot, for continuing to promote awareness of our situation. /trollfeeding :(

Re:Since every other story is Australian... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668560)

This is pretty insane. I'm australian and nothing happens in this country (especially perth, the city I am from) so I am
pretty sensitive to Aus-in-the-news. It just doesn't happen that often. Full stop, so where the hell you are getting this
aus-in-the-news hate from, I have no idea. And if you are american, that is pretty. fucking. rich. We get more american
culture here than anywhere else. We used to be half-british on that front, but it's getting more and more american in aus
than ever, so forgive me if you get a smidge of our news back. You can shove the attitude up your ass, why ever the hell
you hate it - i can not figure out. Did an australian kill your dog?

Re:Since every other story is Australian... (0, Offtopic)

ReneeJade (1649107) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668596)

Wow! Someone else from Perth on Slashdot. Hi!

Re:Since every other story is Australian... (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670240)

Nothing happens in Perth, where were you last Monday night?

Freedom can require regulation of selfish actions (0, Troll)

doug20r (1436837) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668250)

within a community, so Australian's would be right to be very disappointed to see our friends in the US campaigning against our right to regulate. The bottom line is that the greatest threat to freedom on the Internet at present is the dominance of selfish US corporations. So unless the US government is prepared to tackle the dominance of these large companies in a significant manner such as splitting them to have no more than a 5% market share then please do not lecture Australia on freedom.

Technical Debate Wrong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668276)

To all those people who repeat the comment "censoring the internet is technically impossible" - If you are against censorship then say so, rather than saying censor ship won't work for technical reasons.

The purpose of the internet censorship in Australia is to mirror the existing censorship we have in other media. I think that makes sense. However, the opacity of the blacklist is totally unacceptable. It must be transparent.

Re:Technical Debate Wrong (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670330)

What? People who have one opinion should argue a different opinion because you say so?

Some people are morally opposed to censorship in all forms. A lot of people, however, are not. If it were possible to produce a filter that blocked 100% of child pornography and nothing else, then they would be in favour of it. The fact is that such a filter is not possible.

Filter works (5, Funny)

DeBaas (470886) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668310)

However, last night, Australia's Communications Minister Stephen Conroy denied he had had any approach from US State Department Officials."

Filter must already be working then

Re:Filter works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668590)

You, sir, deserve a medal :)

Re:Filter works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31669498)

Of course the US State Department would not have contacted Senator Conroy or his office directly. They would have gone through "diplomatic channels" and thus through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Tensions Rise? (1)

RandomFactor (22447) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668376)

Makes me think we're gonna go to the mat with Australia next...

Q Hillary, do we like censorship in China?
A No
Q ok, what about Australia then? (nyah!)
A Don't like it there either

HEADLINE - RISING TENSIONS WITH AUSTRALIA OVER NET CENSORSHIP!

For UK citizens only... (5, Funny)

Benson Arizona (933024) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668558)

Don't you hate to see the children fighting?

Do you really believe that the US Govt cares? (1, Troll)

moxley (895517) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668614)

Despite any posturing, It's their fucking wet dream to be able to do it here too.

Re:Do you really believe that the US Govt cares? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670384)

Of course they care. A filter controlled by a third party could harm US commercial interests in Australia. Just because they're acting from selfish motives doesn't mean that they are wrong, however.

The ABC Radio interview link, and opinions (1)

MWP-AU (538054) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668662)

Last nights ABC Radio Interview download/stream [abc.net.au]

I dont get it...
Its meant to block *very* objectional material (ie, kiddie porn & beastiality), but what about all the other porn & violence our kids should not be looking at on the 'net?
Im sure plenty of parents will get the idea this filter will protect their kids from all non-kiddie-safe material. Thats very far from the truth.
Sure, let kids view thousands of hours of kinky, watersports, scat and BDSM porn, but dont let them see one of those 400 beastiality sites, itll corrupt them forever!!

So they want to put in place a system that will cost tens of millions of $AUD, complicate ISP filters, reduce reliability, increase latency, to just block those ~400 specific URLs.
Sure, more URLs will be added, but how many out there that should be on the list will be missed?

Fucking stupid.

Re:The ABC Radio interview link, and opinions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668856)

Totally, and dont forget all the free proxy services that will make the filter nothing more than a very expensive speed bump. If only Conroy realised that if the filter was optional and not manditory (ie for families with small children, etc) then it may actually be of some use. But as you pointed out it is far from being porn, etc watertight so really why bother. My guess is hes done some closed door deals with a few religious groups and other like organizations. There was some interesting candit interviews with people off the street around Australia about the filter. Most people who were not geeks thought it wasnt a bad idea but hadnt really thought about it. Unfortunately there is alot of those kinds of people.

creators 'tension' rising over mankinds' failures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31668680)

we're only here to care for one another. how's that going for us? you call this weather?

never a better time to consult with/trust in your creators, who can, it is said, lower/raise the 'tension' level in the wink of an eye. one of the creators stated goals is protection of the innocent.

Perhaps the yanks should tone down their 'concerns (1)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668728)

Apparently the minister didn't receive the objection via e-mail because the obscenity-laced rant didn't get through the Aussie filter.

Re:Perhaps the yanks should tone down their 'conce (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670294)

His department's media releases don't make it through ours either. Spamassassin thinks he's using some sort of dodgy mail server. They should hire some Russians to make the thing look legit.

Potential censorship? (1, Troll)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 4 years ago | (#31668774)

I don't want censorship at all. But I think it's hilarious that America, which is so censored that it can't even show boobies on television (nipples, specifically), is telling Australia that it shouldn't be censoring things.

There was an article posted only a couple of days ago that essentially said censorship is harmful to democracy [slashdot.org] . Maybe both the US and Australian governments should get out of censorship altogether, lest they wind up like China.

Re:Potential censorship? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669068)

This is a Myth: TV is not censored in the USA, but the networks will not show anything that offends since they believe it will lose them audience share if they do

Self censorship is far more effective than government imposed censorship ....

Re:Potential censorship? (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669536)

Broadcast T.V. can face fines from the FCC. That is government enforced censorship.

Re:Potential censorship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31670062)

That's not true. Look up the FCC. That's a FEDERAL agency that will fine you if you show 'obscene' material on TV. And yes, 'boobies' are considered obscene.

Re:Potential censorship? (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670130)

Do you remember Janet Jackson's nipple? Tell me extreme delays on live events weren't in any way government imposed.

Re:Potential censorship? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31670408)

TV is censored in the USA - if they showed full frontal nudity, they'd face MASSIVE FCC fines and risk being shut down.

Whats really happening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31669530)

on a friends computer and drunk, but i'm anarche. for our outerworldly friendly, whats really happening here is....

1) if the Government puts this into place they secure the Senate vote of Steven Fielding, so they can pass other laws and look as if they are doing something.

2) should most Australian find any of the things specifically listed on the blacklist accidently, they'll report it. no-one wants kiddie porn on the net. if you do i'll report you. we are signatories to a shiteload of foreign treaties allowing us to request the foreign government ot investigate kiddie porn...

3) this filter will not work. the company contacted to implement the filter claims it wont work, the ISPs who tested it claimed it wont work. why do the Government claim it will? (see point 1)

4) Obama threatening to bar the JSF from being delivered - while painful to Boeing will be far more incentive to Captain Kevin to drop this stupid law than the threat of election. welcome to the two-party system in an apathetic country flourishing....

5) this filter will significantly degrade the Australian internet speeds, while the Government can't be bothered buying a speed upgrade.

So please, our US friends, petition Obama to stop this shit. Australia's (tiny) internet community doesn't stand a chance....

Meanwhile Aussies, who feels like presenting a petition to Obama in his visit requesting a delay of the JSF until this filter is dropped?

Current ACMA Internet Filtering Rules (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31670032)

As recommended by the Computer Science department of the University of Walamaloo:

1. No pooftah sites.
2. No sites advocating the maltreat of the "abbos" in any way whatsoever, especially if there's video - unless the site is password protected.
3. No pooftah sites.
4. No sites that do *not* advocate late-night drinking.
5. No pooftah sites.
6. There is *no* rule six.
7. No pooftah sites.

Australia, Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you! Amen!
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